IMPORTANT UPDATEWe have received multiple inquiries in response to Photographic Solutions, Inc.'s urgent bulletin about using their New Sensor Swab Ultra™ with Eclipse® (Methanol) on Sony Cameras. This issue is only being reported by Photographic Solutions, Inc. and is unique to their Sensor Swab Ultra™. As reported by Photographic Solutions, Inc., the Sensor Swab Ultra™ requires more pressure and more solution than their original Sensor Swab®. It is very easy to tell the difference between the two versions as the original Sensor Swab® has a rubber band holding the material to the handle and the Sensor Swab Ultra™ does not. Their fix for using the Sensor Swab Ultra™ on Sony cameras is to use their Aeroclipse™ instead of Eclipse®.
Aeroclipse™ is suitable for cleaning sensors but Methanol (Eclipse®) is the better cleaner of the two and much less expensive. If you still have some of the original Sensor Swab's®, they are safe and good to use on all cameras with Methanol (Eclipse®).
The original Sensor Swab® has been the best sensor cleaning swab on the market since 1998. As you can see we have endorsed it heavily on this web site and elsewhere since the beginning. Unfortunately in 2015 Photographic Solutions, Inc. started replacing the original Sensor Swab® with the Sensor Swab Ultra™. Although the name is very similar and in appearance they look similar but these are two very different swabs. The original Sensor Swab® was made in the USA and the Sensor Swab Ultra's are being imported. The material used on the paddle is very different too, the original Sensor Swab® used a clean room wiping material which was folded and held on with a rubber band. The material used on the Sensor Swab Ultra™ is polyester which is attached by heat and requires more pressure and more chemical for the cleaning process. The Sensor Swab Ultra's™ corners are rounded making it harder to get edge to edge cleaning results. Around the same time of this change, Photographic Solutions, Inc. stopped offering their no damage guarantee for their swabs.
For us, the biggest concern we have with the Sensor Swab Ultra™ is the possible sharp corners that can come in contact with the sensor. These sharp corners are caused by the melting of the polyester material in the manufacturing process. We have tested many samples of the Sensor Swab Ultra™ and came across too many sharp corners and therefore we would never use them on our own cameras nor would we recommend them to anyone else.
We are in the process of completely redoing this website due to the discontinuation of the original Sensor Swab®. There are other options out there now that we feel are better and safer than the Sensor Swab Ultra™. You might want to take a look at the new Alpha Swabs by The Dust Patrol LLC.
The VSGO brand of sensor cleaning swabs have the same issues as mentioned above for the Sensor Swab Ultra™. I can't recommend the VSGO sensor cleaning chemical as it dries too slow with greater potential for streaks.
Thank You, for visiting the internets most comprehensive web site on the subject of Digital SLR Sensor Cleaning. We have put this site together to help educate the consumer on how to clean the CCD/CMOS sensor in their Digital SLR Cameras. With so much disinformation out there along with some trying to scare you into buying their supplies, we are here to clear the smoke and demystify the subject.
The difference between this site and others is:
- These instructions are written by a Certified Photographic Consultant & Professional Camera Repairman, Curt Fargo, and Camera Repairs most published author, Larry Lyells
- Developed from real world experiences and written in layman's terms
- We are a regular business with a store front
- With an appointment, we will even show you in person how to accomplish this task (free of charge)
- We want you to be able to clean YOUR sensor no matter where you have bought your supplies from
- We don't offer information on only one method, we offer information on ALL major methods
- We don't represent any one manufacturer and we sell no advertising to help keep our information unbiased
Our reason for developing this web site isn't to try and belittle the manufacturers, or take business away from the repair shops. Our goal is to provide you with the knowledge and resources needed to clean your camera's sensor on your own. YOU will have to decide if you have the skill to do this yourself, or if it would be more appropriate in the hands of a professional. The task of cleaning your sensor is one that needs to be accomplished on a regular basis. Regular for some may mean daily cleanings and for others, annually. Most of the manufacturers recognize this and are also looking for ways to have you accomplish this successfully on your own. They know it isn't economical or feasible for you to be shipping your camera to them every time you get dust. You can expect changes in the future from some of these manufacturers. In Japan, Nikon, has already started selling a swab and methanol, sensor cleaning kit to consumers, but they have yet to make them available in the USA. The independent repair shops would love to have this extra business, they understand the need for regular sensor cleanings. Some, who do not feel comfortable, should have a repair shop accomplish this for you, but there are many of you out there who can accomplish this on your own with just a little bit of guidance.
As professional camera repairmen, we tend to error on the side of caution although not to the extent of Canon or Nikon as we want you to have a clean sensor with the lowest chance of failure. We aren't necessarily the first to endorse a new method or product as we do not want you to be the guinea pig for testing.
We call it cleaning the sensor, but in reality you never actually clean the sensor itself, but a low pass filter mounted in front of the sensor. Not everyone is capable of cleaning their own sensors, we all have different strengths and weaknesses. If you have a steady hand and a good mechanical aptitude, you may well be capable of accomplishing this task successfully. I don't want to scare you, but if you don't do it right, you can mess up your camera. If you still don't feel comfortable after reading all the instructions, by all means don't attempt this. Take your camera to a professional.
As the old saying goes, "there are many ways to skin a cat" and the same goes for cleaning digital camera sensors. The method the majority of the camera repair industry use is the "swab and methanol" method. As a professional camera repairman and the owner of multiple Digital SLR Cameras, I too feel that this is the best and most consistent method. The ultimate level of products to use for accomplishing this method are made by Photographic Solutions Inc., but it is also not the cheapest. With the recent introduction of the Sensor Brush it too has become popular with photographers world wide. If your checkbook isn't as fat as others, we will show you how to save some money by using alternate products. We have also provided you with links to other internet sites that offer opinions on the subject. Although the sponsor of this site does sell all the tools and supplies needed to accomplish the task at hand, we will show you other ways to save money, and provide you with alternative sources for ALL of the needed supplies.
You need to read at least the first seven sections of this site BEFORE you attempt the cleaning. Yes, I know it is a guy thing where we read the instructions after we start having problems, but from one guy to another, you really need to read all of this FIRST. For the gals out there, I know you will read first. We are providing you with this information to help keep you out of the pitfalls associated with cleaning your camera's sensor, but we accept NO LIABILITY and must demand that you attempt any of this AT YOUR OWN RISK